Guard is an electronic artist from South Africa that you’ve likely come across while listening to your Discover Weekly playlist on Spotify. For a long time, Guard was based in Melbourne where he developed his craft and played local shows. He has recently moved to LA however, where he has been working on an album. With millions of Spotify streams thanks to songs like Pineapple Crush and Xylophone, Guard is definitely someone you want to add to your rotation when you’re on your next road trip, and I was lucky enough to have a chat with him!
Interviewing Guard was like talking to an old friend. The way the conversation flowed and his responses to my praise indicated an extremely humble and earnest human being. Unsurprisingly, his music is just as warm as his personality. Authenticity propagates from his sound and he makes it a priority to promote honesty within himself AND to his listeners.
“This was the first time I sat down with a producer and a songwriter and made an album in a month.”
Normally Guard focuses on the lyrics and melody when developing one of his ideas. After he was able to share his demos with the same people that produce for Kiiara, from a chance interaction on Facebook no less, Guard’s presence in the music industry has shown commitment to quality and hard work.
Each session was like a meeting with his therapist. Guard said he “felt like [he] knew what [he] wanted to say”, which included a “bit of a breakup” and other important themes in his life like mental health.
“Mental health is a part of growing up and maturing, it’s something you need to keep in check. It doesn’t always need to be looked at as something negative.”
After being depressed for such a long time, Guard transformed his mental struggles into a catalyst for his work. The previous year he had been in a low place, but coming out of that headspace was crucial. Acknowledging that his mental health deserved priority treatment was vital in maintaining his health, period. I think we can all benefit from that reminder.
Guard’s upcoming release is all about the self-growth and learning he has experienced during the month-long writing process. Reflecting inwardly and not judging yourself for how you feel is how you break out of the cycle. However, it often seems that current social media culture would rather promote this struggle.
Guard called out today’s infatuation with self-deprecation and how it’s evolved into being “trendy”. It’s actually not fun. Depression is draining, and that is what needs to be addressed. Regardless of whether or not people enjoy his music, he wants it to open a conversation around these issues for anyone who hears it.
On top of that, with cancel culture the way it is, it’s easy for these conversations to be silenced, feeling like you need to cancel yourself as well. Guard called cancel culture “ruthless”, and rightfully so. We are all learning every day.
Until recently, Guard could not understand why his mental state had been so poor. Writing was his way of dealing with it in a healthy way. Feeling “not sad” has been really good for him. Hopefully people can learn to be kind to themselves in that same way.
“It’s a journey, it’s life.”
While ruminating in self-reflection, Guard utilized a unique tactic to get the creative juices flowing. Instead of starting with a chorus or a verse idea, Guard wrote a lot of his song titles before he wrote the actual songs. Because he also writes for other people that can be helpful when an artist simply wants an idea, but for himself it allowed him to create solid framework around his emotions. The titles provided a sense of direction. The titles are an anchor with limitless potential for the content that could be accompanied with it.
One of those titles I’m Calling the Cops is the upcoming single from Guard. It’s something he regularly captions on his meme pages @tindervsreality and @mycringe. Most people find it funny, but some people find it genuinely irritating. He does it just to be cheeky.
Guard’s meme accounts are ridiculously successful. With over 1.7million followers collectively, Guard is continuously helping to shape pop culture, while also giving his fans another way to connect with him.
Social media gives us a neat look into most people’s lives, but Guard does it in a humorous way. So many IG accounts are focused on a certain aesthetic or only posting the best versions of oneself. Instead of some curated reality, we get the actual Guard on all of his accounts. His bold, eclectic fashion statements of mostly thrifted clothing, memes and general love for humor is infectious.
In honor of his love for humor, Guard’s music video for I’m Calling the Cops is “basically a three minute long meme”.
“A weird acid trip psychedelic experience, hopefully people fuck with it.”
From Guard’s endearing tone over the phone I could tell I was talking to a kindred spirit. The industry needs more artists like him. This is only the beginning.
Stream: I’m Calling the Cops